Playing for the New England Patriots can bring an immense amount of pressure for the athletes on the 53-man roster. The expectations are high year in and year out as Patriots fans have become accustomed to watching their team compete for a Lombardi Trophy each season.
But special-teamer Brandon King doesn’t let the pressure get to him. King, entering his fourth season in New England, prefers to keep an even-keeled approach as he prepared for the start of another training camp this week.
And the first step as the Patriots get back into the swing of things in preparing for a new season, King said, is solidifying his spot on New England’s roster.
“My own is expectation is making the team,” King, 25 years old, said. “That’s first and foremost. All that other stuff will fall in line but right now, that’s it. I signed a two-year contract (during the offseason) but that contract doesn’t mean anything until you make the team. That’s my main focus right now.”
King didn’t take the easiest of routes to his current role with New England. He originally signed a three-year deal when he arrived in Foxborough in 2015 as an undrafted free agent out of Auburn University. King made the practice squad that year and has stayed in New England on three consecutive one-year deals.
A native of Alabaster, Alabama, King inked a two-year deal with the Patriots in March, worth $2.6 million.
“It’s a big blessing to continue to work, come out here and be with the team you’ve been with while having a little signing bonus and whatnot,” King said. “I’ve never had that before. The only money I’ve ever had is from playing in the games. It’s great to feel the appreciation from the coaches for the hard work I’ve put in for the last three years. I’m really excited about that.”
King’s represented by NFLPA certified agent Sean Stellato. A Salem native, Stellato’s group of 18 NFL clients also includes fellow Patriots Ryan Allen, Jonathan Jones and Marquis Flowers.
“The Patriots organization places a premium on special teams,” Stellato said. “Brandon’s a model citizen with great work ethic. His contributions, character and commitment were recognized when the Patriots signed him to his most recent contract. Brandon looks forward to continuing to contribute to this team’s success. I’m so blessed to represent a player as genuine as him.”
For the past three seasons, King has exemplified the “do your job” mantra coined by Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. While King isn’t a regular on the highlight reels, he has emerged as key piece to New England’s special teams unit.
He finished last season with eight tackles in 13 games. King logged his first career safety when he tackled Travis Benjamin of the San Diego Chargers in the end zone in a 21-13 New England victory October 29. King also recorded one tackle in the 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 52.
“I’m trying to stay on the field a little bit more,” King said of his goals for the upcoming season. “Sometimes in football it doesn’t always work out the way you wanted it to. It’s a contact sport. Sometimes the contact doesn’t feel too well or something isn’t working the right way. I just want to build on everything I’ve done so far, continue to grow as as a player, teammate and as a man in general.”
While the New England faithful’s hoping to avenge February’s loss in the Super Bowl, King and the Patriots will take a “one day at a time” mentality heading into training camp. The grind that comes with two-a-days in the middle of the summer doesn’t make for the most ideal part of the season but Kings looks to take the positives and absorb as much as he can in learning.
“The mentality is just taking care of your body. It’s going to be a long grind,” King said. “They try to make it as hard as possible. Being as successful as the team has been over the years, that comes with hard work. That’s just the main thing. We’ll come into camp and try to string together multiple good days in a row, learn a little more each day. It’ll fly by. Soon enough we’ll be back into the season.”